Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The Corgi Brand Is No More

No, not the dogs - we have no wish to upset HM!

To paraphrase Michael Caine - not a lot of people know this:

On 1st April (what an auspicious date) CORGI (Council of Registered Gas Installers) was replaced by a new body, the Gas Safe Register, under the auspices of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) - yes, them again - as the new regulatory body overseeing gas boilers, the installation and maintenance.

Nowhere on websites is there any reason given for this, however a little 'digging' has unearthed the fact the our 'government' in Brussels issued two directives: a new procurement procedure, the competitive dialogue, which was introduced for public sector contracts in EU Directive
2004/18/EC (the Directive) and another new procurement directive, (2004/17/EC) which applied to contracts in the utilities sector.

As a result of this, gas installers have been burdened with the added cost of changing van logos, business cards, stationary etc etc and for what? Why could not Britain, which had a perfectly acceptable gas regulatory installation body, continued as we were? Why do the HSE not openly state that the change is as a result of EU legislation?

kbbreview has an analysis of the problem which makes interesting reading: "The changeover came after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertook a review of gas safety back in 2006. It concluded that there was a need for a clearer focus on the issue and a strong case for modernising the gas registration scheme to bring added benefits to consumers, as well as industry. At least, that's the official line. But talk to those it actually affects and you'll normally get a more sceptical view. For one thing, fitters are complaining it will cost them time and money to change over. For another, as one fitter pointed out, why fix it if it ain't broken?"

An investigation by the BBC's Watchdog programme also showed flaws in the administration of the new register.

And the cost of all this?

"The total cost of the HSE's rebranding exercise was not disclosed." - this from here. Especially when considering that by the time the time bidding had reached the "Invitation to Tender (ITT) stage, the competition narrowed to two strong bidders: CORGI, the incumbent, and Capita, the professional and support services "Top 100" company. Evaluation of the ITT bids adopted broadly the approach of the new EU's competitive dialogue." ( from the HSE's own website) the question must be asked, why create a new body, with all its inherent additional costs, when such a body already exists?

Setting to one side the additional 'red tape' costs to/for the industry - which no doubt will be passed onto the consumer - the additional costs to us, the taxpayer, funding the HSE and its work implementing this new body, the additional costs in salaries for the 'management' of the new body - its 'all a bit of a gas', is it not?

Just another thought........


Mark Wadsworth said...

Oh Christ!

We had our kitchen done three years ago, the poor plumbers and gas fitters told me all sorts of stories about the crap regulations that were being introduced (themselves considerably worse since I last had a flat renovated about two years before that). I imagine it's impossibly getting anything done nowadays.

And what the f*** does Capita have to do with it?

Whether or not CORGI is a success or a bit of a con (they'll happily take £75 a year off all landlords for gas safety inspection) can surely be judged by looking at the number of people who die in gas explosions every year. It's about two or three, which out of twenty million homes with mains gas is pretty excellent going.

But no way can the EU make this cheaper or better (is it worth £1 billion for rebranding, even it did save one or two lives a year?).

PS, but are they still making the toy cars called 'Corgi'?

Witterings From Witney said...

Corgi Cars - most definitely - branded as Ford/Vauxhall/Nissan/Toyota/Honda etc etc - note Jaguar NOT includeed!

captainff said...

Crapita are in charge of gas safety now?

I'm glad the only gas appliance in my house isn't in my house.

Anonymous said...

"...bring added benefits to consumers..."

Aye right.

Adam Smith had these guys nailed 200 years ago: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

And, he might have added, to raise barriers against competition.

CORGI scores on all those factors.

Thank God I don't have any gas installed in my house at all, nor ever will.